One team came all the way from Singapore.
Another came from Spain.
All the while, hundreds of hawk-eyed college coaches bustled about, wielding binders and clipboards and notebooks.
For the second straight day, the York Expo Center had been transformed into the epicenter of girls' basketball recruiting, as the host of the annual Blue Chip Basketball USA Invitational AAU tournament. The event kicked off Thursday and continues through Sunday.
Before all is said and done, the tournament figures to attract 248 teams -- and, officials hope, some $4 million in revenue -- to York County. This is the USA Invitational's first year in York after a 10-year run in State College.
"So far, so good," said Bill McDonough, the owner of Blue Chip Basketball, said of the event's inaugural run in York. "We're getting a lot of favorable reaction."
Even though participation in the event is down slightly this year, McDonough said, the tournament's scope makes it the largest of its kind in the country. On Friday, the first matchups of the day tipped off at 8 a.m., and the action didn't finish until after 9 p.m. The games were spread over 20 courts -- 12 inside Toyota Arena and
The biggest draw for the tournament's participants, however, is the chance to gain exposure in front of college coaches. McDonough said he's had more than 300 coaches in attendance through the first two days, and expects that number to reach 500 by Sunday.
Those coaches come from colleges big and small -- Division III minnows and Division I titans. Legendary Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma made a cameo, stopping by to watch a game between teams from the New York City and Pittsburgh areas.
Other coaches from schools such as Penn State and Delaware also attended the event Friday.
York Catholic High School coach Kevin Bankos -- who on Friday coached the Keystone Force, a team composed of players from several area schools -- said he had 35 college coaches watching one of his games earlier Friday.
"Any time you can put kids that are going to be seniors in front of 35 college coaches, it doesn't get any better than that," Bankos said. "Every game we've had a lot of college coaches watching us. And that's the only reason we're in this. To get the kids looks."
A few other local AAU teams are also participating in the weekend tournament. Red Lion High School coach Don Dimoff brought a team, the Red Lion Flash, made up of many of the same members that will play for his varsity team this fall.
"Our goal as a coaching staff and a team is to almost get a whole varsity season under our belt, between one high school season ending and another beginning," Dimoff said, after his group beat a team from Virginia. "It's nice having it here. The kids get to sleep in their own bed, and you still get the top-notch competition."
But like Bankos, Dimoff also emphasized the recruiting benefits an event like the USA Invitational can have.
"We've had kids the last several years, just about every senior that goes on plays collegiately at some level," Dimoff said. "A lot of times, they get seen first here."